There’s a new storyline in life that begins the moment we decide to take that leap of faith toward motherhood. No matter where you are in your story, if you’ve dreamed of having a family and taken steps toward that goal, your story is being written. And that story is deeply personal. It changes us in the most surprising of ways. Joy and sorrow weave their way into our storyline because it’s not a pick your own ending kind of story.
There’s no direct path to becoming a mom. It’s a winding, crooked, path-diverging, split your heart wide open kind of path. Every woman who’s uttered these 6 words, I want to have a child, either out loud or in her heart, knows the hope tangled with fear she decides is worth it, in order to step out of her boat and on to the water. The dream that keeps her stepping out of her boat, month after month.
I am a girl with two biological brothers, but many sisters. Life unfolds and we all settle in. When our sisters are ready, some before us and some after, they step out of their boats, too. The veterans offer you a hand out on the water, because at one time or another, you will need that hand. When you feel like you might disappear with disappointment and you’re sinking into oblivion – you will need all of the hands.
Likewise, when the time is right, you’ll be there to offer a hand because it’s lonely in dark waters.
And, women are so amazing because no matter what anyone says, we are the ultimate multitaskers. We can ache in our own story, and at the same time rejoice in others. We can carefully keep the flames of hope alive for each other, no matter what the setbacks are. We can hold space for each other when our husbands think we’re crazy, because they will and sometimes we are. We can serve when we’re broken and rest when we’re whole.
When difficult things happen, there are so many words, but so few of them right. When words fly and none console, there will be a sister friend who steps up and says exactly the words you need to hear. You won’t even know what they are until she’s said them, when relief and tears come flooding. That’s the triumph of being on this path with others. That’s the peace of going from no one, to someone understanding.
The infertility stories, the adoption stories, the birth stories – these are the stories that draw us closer because empathy and understanding are the precursors to love and kindness. Of all the stories, of all the women, of all time – each one of us has a truly unique story. So we learn to take up a chair and lean in to each other’s stories. The brutal, beautiful realizations that come from these stories bind us in a way that’s stronger than any other.
If we weren’t allowed to cry in each other’s kitchens and cheer each other up over dinner, how would we muddle through? These sister friends who don’t just cavalierly say you are in their prayers, but actually get down on bended knee with folded hands and pray for you, for your dream, for your baby. They tread water with you in troubled waters.
In the constant spin of life, babies are conceived, babies are born, and sometimes babies die.
These past 12 months, I’ve been thinking about all the stories and all the women on this life-altering path – the women I know, the ones I don’t.
And I want you to know, I’m treading water with you – rooting for you and your family’s dreams. I’m rooting for that baby you desperately want to conceive or adopt. I’m rooting for that baby you’re carrying, that he or she is beautiful and perfect and healthy. I’m rooting for those of you still wearing the sadness of miscarriage. I’m rooting for those of you years down a path that has brought only heartache from hope. And, I’m thrilled for those of you joyful with the blessings God’s given you.
I’m rooting for your storyline, even when God’s chosen ending is so, so different from your own.
I’ve known happiness, while others knew pain. I’ve known pain, while others radiated with joy. There is wisdom in being on all sides, wisdom that blooms into the loveliest kind of flower. And where empathy blooms, it cements friendships for life.